Slaven Bilic described Andy Carroll as “maybe the best in the world” with his head after his hat-trick in West Ham’s 3-3 draw with Arsenal.
Carroll, making a rare start in what has been another injury-hit season for the Hammers, turned the game upside down with his first treble since August 2010 for Newcastle.
With Arsenal 2-0 lead through goals from Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, first Carroll got on the end of Aaron Cresswell’s cross to power a header in at the far post.
And moments later, in first-half stoppage time, Carroll acrobatically turned in Mark Noble’s centre at the second attempt to haul his side level.
Carroll was not finished there, though, and completed his hat-trick when he nodded Michail Antonio’s cross home to perhaps stake a late, late claim for an England call-up for Euro 2016.
“Now Andy is fit and we hope he will stay fit,” Bilic said afterwards. “There aren’t many players capable of doing what he is doing.
“I’m proud of everything. We were spectacular. But the only thing I’m not happy about is the result.”
Speaking to the BBC, Bilic added of Carroll: “He has everything. It’s impossible to stop him.
“His work rate, watch how many times he tried to get the ball off them. He was keeping the ball, laying it off. Heading, he’s maybe the best in the world. He has to stay away from those injuries.
“He’s professional, but he’s got to be totally dedicated to his career and football.”
Carroll described his performance as his best for West Ham and has not given up hope of gatecrashing England’s Euro 2016 squad.
Asked if he was thinking about an international recall, Carroll told BT Sport: “Without a doubt. You have got to keep that in the back of my head, but I have to play each game here and see how it goes.”
Bilic annoyed by disallowed goals
West Ham remain sixth in the Premier League after the draw, but Bilic believes his side were once again on the wrong end of an incorrect refereeing decision, with Manuel Lanzini having a goal disallowed for a borderline offside decision at 0-0.
“It’s a blow,” Bilic said of the draw.
“I am so proud of my team to come back like that before half-time and then to be better than them in the second half.
“I decided really not to talk about the disallowed goals. I’m not objective, but I’m trying to be. It affects my daily life.
“I have been asked about it five weeks in a row so I’m not going to talk about it. We should be third in the table, not fourth.”